Northern Ireland Assembly Rejects Motion on Gay Marriage


Gay marriage is on a roll internationally -- of losing:

The Northern Ireland assembly has rejected a motion calling for same-sex couples to be married in the province.

A joint proposal by Sinn Fein and the Green party to allow gay marriage was defeated because the Democratic Unionists (DUP) ensured that it would have to obtain cross community support in the parliament to succeed.

Under the rules of the Stormont parliament, any party can trigger a so-called petition of concern on a motion that then can only pass if the majority of nationalists and unionists back it. The rule was drawn up to protect minorities and ensure that there would never be a return to unionist domination of the assembly. In this instance the DUP used the law to scupper any move to liberalise the law on gay marriage.

Only three unionist assembly members out of 45 voted in favour of gay equality. Both the DUP and the Ulster Unionists came under pressure over the weekend from the Protestant churches not to change the law on gay marriage.

In a letter to assembly men and women the Presbyterian church said it was "not merely an issue of conscience for Christian people and churches, but a very significant one for the whole of society". -- The Guardian